Two papers comment on the crisis in Syria: Ma’ariv says that “The demonstrations in Syria have a strong sectarian character
Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press
Two papers comment on the crisis in Syria: Ma’ariv says that “The demonstrations in Syria have a strong sectarian character,” and recalls that “The Alawites, from which springs Assad and the Baath Party leadership, and its Shi’ite partners are only 13% of Muslims in Syria.” The author says that in his eleven years in power, Bashar Assad has formed a strong alliance with Shi’ite Iran and Hezbollah, and points out that “Whereas Hafez Al-Assad took care to maintain a delicate sectarian coalition under the heading of ‘Syrian honor’, Assad Jr. has neglected local interests in favor of those of Tehran. The Sunni majority does not love this development, to say the least.” The paper claims that the Syrian demonstrators will be hard put to unseat the regime without strong Western backing.
Yisrael Hayom asserts that “European and American blandishments notwithstanding, Assad junior never really considered renouncing the Iranian umbrella, which provides the Alawite minority in Syria with a kind of protection against the Sunni majority. Also, he never seriously considered weakening his support for Hezbollah, which aids Syria in Lebanon. Moreover, the absence of peace with Israel, as Assad himself has acknowledged, also provides him with a pretext for ‘the emergency regime’, with which he and his father have suppressed every spark of opposition to their rule.” The author believes that “Whatever happens, withdrawing from the Golan Heights is off the agenda,” and adds that “The reason is exactly the same one why we went up there: Physical security from Syrian – or other – aggression.”
Yediot Aharonot discusses the recent Irish elections in which the republican Fianna Fail received a historic defeat, and which put a coalition, led by the center-right Fine Gael, in power. The author reminds his readers that under Fianna Fail, “Ireland became very hostile toward Israel within the EU,” and says that “leaders of the former government, who are now being openly accused of stupidity and irresponsibility, attacked Israel whenever they encountered problems at home, thereby pouring oil on the anti-Israeli fires burning in Irish society.” The paper hopes that “The formation of the new government is likely to assist in building a different, more positive, network of links.” However, the author contends that “A true revolution also needs to occur in other sectors of society, mainly in the media and academe, which have, for decades, contributed to blind hostility toward Israel in local public opinion,” which, he adds, “reaches the level of incitement.”
The Jerusalem Post discusses the half-percent interest rate hike announced this week by Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer, and concludes that Fischer has decided to prioritize the battle on inflation over the need to restrain the local currency. The editor contends that “Fischer will likely have to compensate for his anti-inflationary preference by announcing greater anti-speculation restrictions, as disincentives against supercharging the shekel.”
Haaretz commends State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on the release last Tuesday of the first-ever report on the Mossad, and notes that “The findings show that the Mossad abused its shield of secrecy and that the spy agency’s top officials allowed themselves to deviate from rules and procedures that other government institutions are required to follow.” The editor declares that “no institution is entitled to immunity from oversight and exposure of its failings, even if its operations are secret,” and calls on all responsible, both in and out of government, to “act together to create a new organizational culture at the spy agency.”